B.C. judge dismisses lawsuit against RCMP, saying it was filed too late

Judge rules the lawsuit was filed too late

B.C. judge dismisses lawsuit against RCMP, saying it was filed too late


VANCOUVER — A lawsuit in the case involving a British Columbia Mountie who failed to get out of his cruiser to investigate a shots fired call has been tossed out of court.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge dismissed the action alleging police negligence in the case of Lisa Dudley, who was shot in her home in Mission in September 2008, ruling the lawsuit was filed too late.

Dudley’s mother, Rosemarie Surakka, filed the civil suit against Canada’s attorney general and the province of B.C., alleging an RCMP officer failed to properly investigate when he responded to reports of shots fired because he didn’t get out of his vehicle.

Dudley was discovered in the home four days later by a neighbour, she was badly wounded and died on her way to the hospital.

The officer was later given a written reprimand and docked a day’s pay as punishment by the RCMP.

Justice Nathan Smith says in a written ruling released this week that Surakka’s lawsuit was not filed within the required two-year time limit and dismissed the case.

Surakka’s lawyer had argued the time limit did not apply because the claim wasn’t that the RCMP had caused a personal injury, but instead “imperilled” Dudley’s right to security of the person.

A civil claim for violation to security of the person would have a six-year time limit for a lawsuit, the lawyer argued.

Surakka’s lawsuit was filed three years and one month after Dudley’s death.

Smith rejected the argument and compared Surakka’s claim to a medical negligence action in which a plaintiff alleged that a doctor failed to diagnose or properly treat an injury or illness.

“I find that the ‘identifiable injury’ alleged in this case is the deterioration of Ms. Dudley’s physical condition, resulting in a death that would likely not have occurred had police found her on the night of the shooting. Injury to her person is therefore an essential element of the claim,” he says in the ruling.

Four people were convicted of a variety of charges including first-degree murder, manslaughter or conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of Dudley and her partner, Guthrie McKay, who was also fatally shot.